Frustration in Houston for Paul Tracy Angleton, Texas – It was a frustrating two days for the Forsythe Team and Paul Tracy at Champ Car’s preseason test this week at MSR Houston Raceway in East Texas as the #3 INDECK Panoz ran only a handful of laps due to a variety of problems. During the first day the team decided to limit their laps due to wet conditions. The final day was expected to be more productive as the skies cleared, but the problems started during the morning session with an off track excursion that damaged the downforce-generating underbody, resulting in downtime for extensive repairs.
During the afternoon session a clutch problem surfaced which once again caused Tracy to sit on the sidelines while the Forsythe crew repaired the car. Tracy only managed to turn a handful of laps before the day ended, including his unofficial fastest lap of the day just after the checkered flag that would have moved him up several spots in the overall fast lap standings. The most significant part of the day was a productive standing start practice in which the Forsythe team gathered a large amount of valuable data as the Champ Car World Series introduces an exciting new element to its signature Three-Day Festivals of Speed.
Paul Tracy #3 INDECK Cosworth/Bridgestone/Panoz 11th Fastest 1m11.591s / 119.680mph / 192.606kph “It’s been very frustrating. That was probably the worst test of my career, basically everything that could go wrong went wrong. Once we finally managed to turn a good lap the checkered was already out so it didn’t count, but it would’ve been good enough to put us seventh in the charts so that’s encouraging considering it was our only fast lap of the test. But you don’t get points or prizes for testing so we just have to move on and have a more productive test at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The standing start practice was very good for us; we learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. There’s still a lot of work to be done with the software but it was encouraging. I have to thank everybody at the Forsythe Team because even with the problems they all kept working really hard to get us the few laps that we did manage to squeeze in.”
Phil LePan Team Manager “Obviously we didn’t get to do as much as we had planned. We had a lot of problems but the team worked great together and no matter what happened we always managed to fix it and get the car back on track. One of the very positive aspects is that it seems that all of the problems that had surfaced in Sebring with the gearboxes have been fixed, so that is very encouraging. We also were very happy with our standing starts and we learned quite a bit. So overall it wasn’t what we had hoped, but we still managed to gather data and to learn more about the car and now we’ll just have to keep working at it and get ready for the next test.”
Next on the schedule, the Champ Car World Series heads west to the beautiful hill country outside Monterey, California for its version of “Spring Training” at spectacular Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Taking place on Friday and Saturday, March 9-10, the final open test of the year will be the last opportunity to fine-tune the new Panoz chassis for the season-opening event on the streets of Las Vegas at the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix, April 6-8. For more information, please visit the official series website at www.ChampCar.ws. FCR PR
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